If you want to look for one verse that encapsulates the gist of Christianity, it’s hard to find something better than John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
Since John 3:16 is such a core precept of Christianity, let’s look into it a bit, ask a few important questions, and see if this core precept makes any sense. From experience, I can say that this is a tricky subject, one which is difficult for many people to wrap their heads around – particularly for those who are emotionally connected to this precept, and to its classic apologies and defenses. So lets take it slow, and go over it a few times to make sure we clarify things.
Starting at the very beginning, who supposedly created the universe along with all the humans who live in it? God, of course. Who set up all the conditions surrounding life, death, perishing and eternal life? God, of course. Did god know how things would turn out for humans, equipped as they are with the frailties he gave them? Of course he did – he’s omniscient. Could god have created the above mentioned conditions and human frailties differently if he wanted them to be different? Of course he could – he’s omnipotent.
So what we have here is a situation where god is in complete control – over everything. Everything that exists, exists precisely the way it is, precisely because god wanted it to exist that way, otherwise he would have created it differently. And what this means is that there was no reason for god to have sacrificed anything – let alone the son he created – not because it’s immoral, but because it makes no sense.
This, little realization, in and of itself, is enough to debunk Christianity because under the framework of such a creator, there cannot be such a thing as sin – which is defined as something that goes against god’s will. If god willed everything into existence exactly the way it is, then nothing within this willed universe can be said to go against the omniscient will that created it. And if something god willed into existence did happen to go against his will later on, this would be an internal conflict within an omniscient mind that can’t decides what it wants. Even if such a thing were possible, how could the responsibility for it fall on anyone other than the conflicted mind that created everything?
The next important question to ask about John 3:16 is, who is god “giving” his son to? Christians are supposed to believe that having gotten dissatisfied with his own work, this all knowing god came up with a perfect plan to atone for his creations by having himself (in the form of his human son) tortured to death by his Roman creations in Iron Aged Palestine. By doing this, god would be sacrificing himself to himself, in order for him to forgive his human creations for being how he created them in the first place.
I wish there were another way to put it, but the entire Christian idea of sin, atonement and salvation really is that silly. This might help explain why the vast majority of all humans who have lived since the time of Jesus haven’t bought into this story by becoming Christians, which also means that this “perfect plan” has mostly failed.
In the face of all of this, the only counter argument Christian apologists keep presenting centers around human free will being responsible for sin and abandonment of god, rather than god being responsible for what he supposedly created in the first place. These apologists keep stating that god gave humans free will because he didn’t want obedient robots, he wanted people to choose to love him on their own.
This predictable excuse is surprisingly common in light of how quickly it breaks down when you give it some serious thought. Being granted freedom by an omnipotent, omniscient creator is nothing more than that creator pre-programming you with the illusion of freedom. If there’s nothing your creator doesn’t already know in advance about you and your future decisions (since he’s omniscient), then the freedom of such human will is still contained within the framework that had been created for you.
To be created exactly the way you are by someone who has perfect knowledge about what you’ll do, is the definition of being pre-programmed. The only freedom allotted to the creations in such a setup is from the knowledge that they have been pre-programmed.
On top of all that, god also supposedly transcends time and space. This is important because if your creator, in addition to being omnipotent and omniscient, is also timeless and omnipresent, there’s no point in asking whether he has foreknowledge of your decisions. How could such a creator not have this type of foreknowledge?
We therefore end up with the conclusion that it’s impossible for humans to go against god’s will because there’s nothing in existence which didn’t result from him willing it to be that way in the first place – past, present and future. In such a setup, humans are no different from characters willed into existence by a supernatural writer. If nothing – past, present or future – can escape the foreknowledge of the writer who willed everything into existence, then there can be no such thing as sin – characters going against the will of the writer – making the idea of forgiveness of such impossible sin ludicrous.
From my experience, theist will be very resistant to your pointing out that their entire belief system is based on a logical contradiction. Most of these theists, having been so indoctrinated with Christian apologetics, will doggedly cling to the idea that our god-given human free will is a solution to the contradiction, rather than a simple reiteration of it.
Try to be patient with them, and give them a few guiding questions that can show them how the contradiction persists no matter what angle it’s viewed from: Did god come up with his grand plan for you before he created you? Are you capable of deviating from god’s plan by means of the free will he supposedly gave you? Has god already decided in advance – before he ever created you – whether or not he’ll send you to hell? Can you deviate from god’s predetermined plan, and if so, what does this mean about god’s omniscience?
The core Christian problem isn’t with morality or responsibility, it’s with a story that makes no sense – a story that contradicts itself on its own terms.
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5 thoughts on “Debunking The Core Of Christianity”
Just because God knew Adam and Eve would sin does not mean he caused that to happen. God’s omniscience/foreknowledge is separate from the decision Adam and Eve made. The Bible does not teach that God willed Adam and Eve to sin, as you mentioned; though he knew they would. Even though he knew they would he had a plan in place to save mankind from the beginning John 3:16 whosoever believes in Jesus is save.
This point had already been addressed and debunked in the article itself.
I think you are really thinking about Christianity, but I’m not sure you understand it. Claiming to “debunk” something? If I wrote an article debunking atheism and made this proud statement it wouldn’t make it more true. Your argument is a good try but is wrong because it’s assumptions are wrong: “Everything that exists, exists precisely the way it is, precisely because god wanted it to exist” Are you the way you are because God created you that way? are the messy items in your room that way because of God? Or did God give humans dominion over the earth?
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
It seems man is given free will and dominion over the earth, and that the earth is a habitat for man (Isaiah 45:18)
“And what this means is that there was no reason for god to have sacrificed anything”
Actually no, you just are missing the point of the Gospel (the core message of Christianity) People out of there free will choose to disobey God (or “sin”) and God is so ultimately good, righteous, and just that he has to punish all sin and evil (because that is what good is). Looks like we’re outta luck right? No, God DECIDED out of his lovingkindness to enact this salvation plan (John 3:16) because he loved us and did not want us to perish in our sins. So whoever accepts this free gift (of Jesus) is legally dismissed from sin and guilt before God (judge) because God paid the price FOR you himself (not created the son, like you suggest in your article) and sin is atoned for by blood sacrifice of a perfect thing.
Your 2nd point:
“there cannot be such a thing as sin”
“how could the responsibility for it fall on anyone other than the conflicted mind that created everything?”
Actually, this ignore freewill which we experience in our everyday lives, so you cannot say it does not exist.
“which is defined as something that goes against god’s will”
yeah in Islam, sin is according to the Bible (the final rule and authority on Christianity) “all wrong doing” “anyone who knows the good he aught to do and doesn’t do it sins”
Again this relies on God forcing us to sin, Paul (a major writer of the New Testament) actually addresses this point specifically in Romans 9:
“You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (that is, tendencies for certain sins) Rather we have tendencies towards sin from birth (some more than others) but the problem is we all decide to sin (do the wrong thing) nonetheless even when we don’t have to.
Your Third Point
“who is god “giving” his son to” The answer is in the verse: Everybody (the world, tout le monde)
A better question is “who is receiving his son?” It seems while the gift is offered to everyone, it is sadly not received by everyone.
“this all knowing god came up with a perfect plan to atone for his creations by having himself”
on the contrary this was not ideally thought up but was the plan from the very beginning as soon as Adam sinned. c.f. Gen 3
“sacrificing himself to himself” Actually I can think of no other way which would have worked, I’d like to see you come up with a better plan… This is the only way where we can understand his love in a limited human way. We can understand pain, suffering, politics, unfairness, and the other things Jesus went through. The Bible actually says this:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15
“This might help explain why the vast majority of all humans” Well, that is also easily explainable in these words of Jesus:
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Or was Jesus Lying/Wrong? I do not find it surprising that the words of the Lord held true…
If you think that is coincidental, than you could also simply say the fact that the majority of non Christians were not people who clearly herd the gospel and rejected it, that is realities uncommon by those measures.
“perfect plan” has mostly failed” ha far from it my friend! (no sarcasm) The Bible does exactly what it claims to do, I [refer to call that success. Try testing some of it’s claims on your personal life, you have to really put yourself out there, humble yourself, submit to Christ, and trust him. Or do you think Peter walked on water for a moment by unbelief?
You are missing that while God is capable of controlling our lives, he does not because he doesn’t have to… and he doesn’t unless you say “God you may control my life” which is a good thing, because he has a better perspective than we do (Submit to Christ, it’s really great! Guaranteed!) Even then God doesn’t stand next to you and direct your arms or something
“illusion of freedom” No illusions here! I have real freedom, God isn’t next to me forcing me to believe in him, do things, not sin, is he doing that for you?
“To be created exactly the way you are by someone who has perfect knowledge about what you’ll do, is the definition of being preprogrammed”
As if this was actually the case…
People are not “Programs” like a computer, meaning we actively change and develop. In fact our DNA is suprisingly like a program, but DNA is not equal to life. In fact research continues to show that Nuture is just as important if not more important than Nature, meaning that unlike a computer we are different. That is why we cannot make artificial intelligence.
“foreknowledge” I suppose he does, but you’re forgetting that he loves us (the key important fact of Christianity that other religions don’t have) You could say this about a generic “god” but not the God of the Bible, which is the one in question. He allows free will, go back and read those verses earlier about how important he sees us “a little lower than angels”, in fact he calls us “gods”
“I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;” Psalm 82:6
Based on points that are not consistent with the God of the Bible or it’s message,
“We therefore end up with the conclusion that it’s impossible for humans to go against god’s will because there’s nothing in existence which didn’t result from him willing it to be that way in the first place – past, present and future. In such a setup, humans are no different from characters willed into existence by a supernatural writer. If nothing – past, present or future – can escape the foreknowledge of the writer who willed everything into existence, then there can be no such thing as sin – characters going against the will of the writer – making the idea of forgiveness of such impossible sin ludicrous.”
This actually is not what we observe in reality, including the Bible
“having been so indoctrinated” Actually all of the Christians who became Christians because of the Gospel are not included in this statement, because it was that love of God that caused them to love him back. (Which is, actually, every Christian on the planet)
“god given human free will is a solution” I explain this in my whole discourse.
Q. Did god come up with his grand plan for you before he created you?
Q. Are you capable of deviating from god’s plan by means of the free will he supposedly gave you?
Q. Has god already decided in advance – before he ever created you – whether or not he’ll send you to hell? Can you deviate from god’s predetermined plan, and if so, what does this mean about god’s omniscience?
A. No he did not, you can, it means that God still knows everything, the ideas are unrelated. God exists outside space and time, and your understand of God through a linear direction of time mindset does not encompass all of who God is for obvious dimensional reasons.
“The core Christian problem isn’t with morality or responsibility, it’s with a story that makes no sense – a story that contradicts itself on its own terms.”
The core Atheist problem is that they know what they know, and think they know what we know, but the Christian knows what they know, and knows that they themselves know, and with this more complete picture knows that God exists and Jesus is the Way.
I know after reading this you might be mad at me, and I am sorry, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but would rather that you know the fullness and riches of Christ to your enjoyment so that you can be made whole for your personal good. Bonus: you get to be with God forever, but that’s not why we even do it for “He who desires to save his life will loose it, but he who looses his life for my sake will find it”
The Bible will hurt you with the truth, but will never comfort you with a lie.
//are the messy items in your room that way because of God? Or did God give humans dominion over the earth?//
Well, according to Christianity, humans only have dominion because god gave it to them, and he gave it to them knowing full well exactly what every single one of them will do with it – since he’s omniscient. Dominion under an omnipotent, omniscient god is still just a function of god’s will.
//People out of there free will choose to disobey God (or “sin”)//
To choose to disobey the Christian god is another way of saying that this god cannot be omniscient and omnipotent. It’s a paradox. Please take some time to think about this.
//God is so ultimately good, righteous, and just that he has to punish all sin and evil (because that is what good is).//
He HAS to? Once again, you’re making your god sound like he’s neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Does he really have no other choice?
//No, God DECIDED out of his lovingkindness to enact this salvation plan (John 3:16) because he loved us and did not want us to perish in our sins//
Well, with the majority of the planet not being Christian, this “plan” wasn’t very good, was it? It’s almost as if god didn’t know how poorly it would work, almost as if he’s not omniscient…
//So whoever accepts this free gift (of Jesus) is legally dismissed from sin and guilt before God//
Doesn’t omniscient god already know who will or won’t accept it before a person is even born? Again, you’re presenting a story with a god that is neither omniscient nor omnipotent.
//“who is god “giving” his son to”. The answer is in the verse: Everybody (the world, tout le monde)//
The question isn’t who he’s making the sacrifice FOR, but who he’s making the sacrifice TO. It’s not the same thing.
//Actually, this ignore freewill which we experience in our everyday lives, so you cannot say it does not exist.//
I’m not saying free will doesn’t exist, I’m saying that its existence contradicts the Christian story about an omnipotent, omniscient creator.
//It seems while the gift is offered to everyone, it is sadly not received by everyone.//
Again, you’re telling a story where god is neither omnipotent nor omniscient.
//“sacrificing himself to himself” Actually I can think of no other way which would have worked, I’d like to see you come up with a better plan…//
This isn’t a plan, it’s a story – one that centers around a perfectly circular idea. I could very easily come up with a story about an omnipotent, omniscient god who never gets surprised or disappointed by anything because it’s impossible for anything to surprise or disappoint him.
//I know after reading this you might be mad at me, and I am sorry//
I’m not mad at all, simply a bit annoyed at the fact that all of your objections were already dealt with in the article itself, and that my comments here will probably not do much good, since you’re not thinking about this subject deeply enough.
Thanks for reading and commenting, though. I do appreciate it.
I Will use some of these evidence and logic to prove that this god from Abrahamic religions is fake and created by their creators:
1) Why is the Creator God’s religion not the oldest religion ?
2) Why Hinduism and Judaism have similar stories of the big flood, serpent, forbidden fruit etc ? Even the Noah character had 3 sons in Hinduism. Why was Abraham and wife Sarah so similar to Brahma and wife Sarawasthi ?
3) If this Creator God is almighty, why did it allowed Christianity and Islam to branch off/betray Judaism and later fought between themselves ?
4) If all humans are descendants of Adam and Eve, why are there so many different languages today ?
5) Why Jesus and Buddha had so much similarities ? Mother’s name Maya and Mary, miracle pregnancies, birth during a journey home, prophesied after birth, had 12 disciples, had 1 betrayer, just to name a few. Who copied who ?